Can anyone explain this sacrifice ?

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2 Answers 2


Black sacrifices the queen to deflect the bishop away from the a4-e8 diagonal; after 2. Bxc4 Rxh2, the threat of 3...Rh1# is winning.

If Black attempts to skip 1...Qxc4+, playing 1...Rxh2?? then White wins with 2. Qxf8+ Kxf8 (2...Kh7 3. Qxg7#) 3. Re8#. Note that Re8# is guarded by the bishop in this line.

  • 15
    Basically Black sacrifices the Queen to prevent White from sacrificing the Queen. The irony makes this puzzle even more brilliant.
    – vsz
    Apr 8 at 8:27
  • FWIW, it's not a forced mate but escaping will cost white a fair amount of material which will likely cost the game eventually. Apr 8 at 19:45

Always ask yourself, "what is my opponent threatening?", especially before making a move that is not a check.

Let's say Black plays the non-check 1..Rxh2. The goal is the "unstoppable" 2..Rh1# mate. But Black is wrong. Let's flip the board, and see if you can solve the resulting mate-in-2 puzzle for White:

Q4nk1/1pq2pp1/3p1B2/1B1P4/2P5/2P2b1p/P4P1r/4RK2 w - - 0 1

Solutions below:

[Variant "From Position"]
[FEN "Q4nk1/1pq2pp1/3p1B2/1B1P4/2P5/2P2b1p/P4PrP/4RK2 b - - 0 1"]

1... Rxh2?? (1... Qxc4+!! 2. Bxc4 (2. Re2 Qxb5) 2... Rxh2 3. Re3 Rh1#) 2. Qxf8+! Kxf8 (2... Kh7 3. Qxg7#) 3. Re8#

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